Choosing a Monk Parakeet

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Feeding

Commercial food, fruit, vegetables, protein and high quality pelleted food is a good diet. If you feed a seed diet, you will also have to provide calcium and vitamin supplements. You should supplement the diet with fruits, vegetables, greens, pasta, beans and rice. Most monks eat fairly small portions several times a day and they enjoy eating with their families. Try feeding your pet during your breakfast and lunch to provide him the opportunity to enjoy the company of the family and freshly prepared human food at least twice a day.

Several foods and certain products are bad for your bird. These include fatty foods, salty foods and spoiled foods. Also, chocolate, avocado and the fumes from overheated Teflon® cookware are very toxic.

Housing

Your monk needs a fair amount of cage space – enough room to spread and flap his wings without hitting anything, including toys. The minimum size is a rectangular cage about 18 inches by 24 inches by 18 inches. It’s also important that the width in between each horizontal bar is 1 inch or less so that he can’t stick his head through the bars and get hurt.

Monks also need toys and a play-top or play area for exercise and amusement. They enjoy spending time on top of the cage and there has been some evidence that this extra time walking flat-footed is good for them. Many cages include a cage top “play gym,” or they open to a cage top perch. Pet monks will happily entertain themselves making nests from sticks, drinking straws and other similar items inside their cages. They don’t need elaborate toys, but they like brightly colored wood and plastic.

Monks are a bit messy, so you’ll want a cage with a removable tray. You will also need to provide a water bottle for drinking (he’ll bathe in a water dish), perches (natural looking tree branches of varying diameters) for his feet, and plenty of things to chew on, like a cuttlebone, mineral block and chew toys. The cage is one of the most important things in your bird’s life, and you need to choose one that will provide a happy home.

Breeding

Monks usually begin to breed in mid-spring and continue well into the summer months, producing three or four clutches a year. The female will lay four to eight eggs, one every other day, which will hatch usually in the same order. Chicks hatch in about 4 weeks and fledge in about 7 weeks.

Monks use any standard nest box, usually about 12 inches. Give them straw and twigs and they will arrange this to their liking. Both male and female share in the brooding and, after the eggs hatch, share the duties of feeding and caring for the young.

When hand feeding, babies are pulled from the nest when the youngest is 10 days old. The nest box should be pulled out and cleaned at this time, too. Allow a month of rest before allowing the pair to breed again.

Common Diseases and Disorders

Monk parakeets are relatively healthy birds but are susceptible to the following:

  • Fatty liver disease
  • Quaker Mutilation Syndrome
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